Musings on Contemporary Waffle

Brothers, Sisters, Mothers, Fathers …

Dear M,

Your brother’s email to you was awful; tactless and crude. As I’m a bit older than you, though not necessarily smarter, I’ll be bold and offer here some insights from my years of failure dealing with my own blood relations.

In the first place, always remember to take stock on a regular basis of good things that have happened in your life. It’s important to use those as a counterweight against family unpleasantries and not to remain too focused for too long on things you can’t change.

Convince yourself that if some people knew how others really see them, they would be mortified. These folks — your family and mine — really just don’t know how awful and downright deluded they really are.

But realize that they’re actually acting out of a kind of survival mode that they’re not able to admit to anyone, including themselves. If your brother admitted to himself all his lost opportunities, all the times he’s let you and others down out of laziness or fear, and all the little lies that he’s made, he would probably fall into a depression worse than yours that might even kill him. I’m serious.

As truly deluded folks get older, they fight tooth and nail to be allowed to live on their nice “neurotic island” with their malleable wife or husband and their nice bank account and not be reminded how useless they’ve been in their meaningless lives.

That might be a bit strong to say, but it’s also just the truth. Believe me, they know, deep inside, that if they admitted their failures, it might mow them down such that they might never get up.

Our blood relations are of the type that don’t like truth, logic, insights, explanations, or other people’s successes (especially ours). They need to live in a bubble where imaginary rain and snow are major excuses for not doing something they ought to do, such as visit you and your family 4 hours away by car.

And they hate that you’re one of those people who hates being bullshitted, because they thrive on it. Bullshit is their life force. And they resent anyone who doesn’t play along.

There is a certain relief in knowing this about our folks — whether it’s your brother or my brother-in-law, or my mother and your parents. Knowledge is power, and so it’s important for you to just let it sit in your unconscious until it begins to guide you in its own way.

Telling your brother all of these things would be a very bad thing. He wouldn’t understand. But as long as you do then you’ll be alright.

Tiny P.

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